Ukraine’s Agriculture Ministry said on Jan. 26 that grain exports from the country's Black Sea ports had reached a record low due to sabotage by Russia.
The ministry said that “on average" two or three cargo ships have been leaving Black Sea ports every day in January under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
The initiative is a U.N.-backed deal signed in July by Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey to unblock Ukrainian grain exports amid Russia's invasion of the country. The exports had been blocked by Russia's armed forces.
“(The decrease) is due to the artificial blocking of the grain corridor by Russian inspectors,” the ministry said in a statement.
According to the ministry, ships loaded with “only 2.4 million metric tons of grain” left Ukrainian ports in January, down from 4 metric tons in October.
This is not the first time Ukraine has said the Russian delegation is deliberately stalling the process.
In late December, Ukraine's Infrastructure Ministry said that some of the ships that had set sail from Ukraine under the grain initiative had been stuck in Turkish waters awaiting inspection for over a month.
"This is the result of purposeful actions of the Russian delegation in the Joint Coordination Center aimed at slowing down the process of ship inspections," the Infrastructure Ministry said.
The Joint Coordination Center was established to coordinate the implementation of the deal, and each party to the agreement has representatives within it.
In October, President Volodymyr Zelensky also said Russia “deliberately provokes the food crisis” by delaying cargo ships with grain from Ukraine.
According to Agriculture Ministry, a total of 675 ships carrying 18.4 million metric tons of grain have left Ukrainian Black Sea ports under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.